Hello, I’m Tamara!

Where to start on an “about me” post… Do you want to know who I am, and what makes me think the way I do? Do you need a list of my accomplishments?

It’s tricky because they both overlap each other, and by that, I mean my world is starting to revolve around my art truly, and it is becoming less of a hobby and more of a way of life. I am sure that during my blogging journey and any other avenues I take you, will notice a bit of rambling, side notes, and occasional rants. Because I want nothing more than to be authentic to who I am as an artist and person.

If you are still with me, we will go on a little journey into my past, for as long as I can remember, I have always been creative and wanted to be an artist. As a child and teenager, I didn’t feel like being a “starving artist” was the right path form me, nor did I believe my art was good enough (we will discuss this later – keep reading). I was lucky to attend a high school that had a lot of creative and art class opportunities, I was able to explore video editing, animation, crafts, and fine art – and boy did I take advantage of all those classes! The summer between my junior and senior years of high school, I was able to attend the Art Institue’s two-week summer program for graphic design – this was my first introduction to graphic design, and I LOVED IT!!! It combined my love of art and my interest in all things computer. That was the summer of 1999, and in my small county town, computers were not in every household, and the internet was still dialup. That being said, it was an exciting opportunity.

That next summer, I attended a graphic design trade school in Arizona. I got my AA degree in visual communication, but I met people that will forever be a part of my life and became friends that I cherish to this day. Including my best friend that now lives in New Jersey and we see each other about once a year, another that still lives in Arizona, and we see each other even less often, but the bonds are still there. My Arizona friend was the one to reintroduce me to watercolor – more on that later.

After graduating, I decided to move back home to the central valley of California. I got a job at a small print shop, then another at a local trade magazine. I decided I wanted to prove to myself that I could make it in the big city, so I moved back to Arizona and got a job at a large publishing company that housed 10+ trade magazines. I worked there for about two and a half years, at that point I had been the senior designer of two editorial publications as well and the ad designer of two more publications and special project designer in the trade show division and other departments. I was burnt out and considering a change in career. I moved back home, contacted my previous employer, and they were more than happy to have me back – and here we are now 12+ years in California.

But what about the watercolor? How and why did that start???

Early 2016, I decided to visit my old college friend that still lives in Arizona – he is a fantastic artist, and we got to talking about art and creating new things. (another note – I had not been very creative outside of work before this, I actually couldn’t remember the last time I had drawn or painted anything – I guess you could say life and DOUBT got in the way) He showed me these new watercolor paint he had, Dr. Ph. Martins hyrdo watercolor inks. I fell in love with the vibrant colors and the flow of the paints. After coming home, I purchased a set of these paints for myself, along with some very inexpensive watercolor paper. After experimenting, several youtube videos, and following tons of Instagram watercolor artists, I purchased a Windsor and Newton half pan set – that was the game changer! I loved the way the color flowed and the controlled chaos of the wet on wet technique.

At this point, I was creating mostly fan art. Reason One: I wanted the Bat symbol on a t-shirt in my watercolor style. Reason Two: I was very much into a variety of different fandoms, and my art always has and always will reflect my interests. Reason Three: I didn’t believe anyone was interested in what I would have created, nor did I trust that my art was “good enough” (more on this later, another post coming soon – watch my Insatgram account for updates @cmyk.nerd). Reason Four: I was afraid to expose my real art and the personal vulnerability that would be exposed (I didn’t realize this at the time). I kept creating all this fan-inspired art, and it was stacking up with nowhere to go. In September of 2017, I found out about a local event for artists, called Taste the Arts. After deciding to get a booth and take my art to show and hopefully sell – I made the first step into creating my business.

In October of 2017, CMYKnerd was created!!! I get asked a lot what my business name means:
C = Cyan
M = Magenta
Y = Yellow
K = Black
These are the four-color process used in print media, and I am a bit of a nerd, but I am also a graphic design nerd – so the basic meaning behind my business name is “graphic design nerd.”

After that first event, I did other local events and tried some other things with my business, like paint classes and such all the time evolving and growing as an artist. I was using new paints and different papers, creating pieces that meant more to me then fan art, essentially I was growing as an artist and believing in myself more and more. Skip forward to summer 2019 – I entered the cover art contest for the Watermark Magazine (local Tulare county artist magazine). My artwork won the competition for the cover. I was and still am beyond excited about this achievement. You can view the digital magazine here.

2019 was the year that my artwork evolved – it is a hard thing to put yourself out there, but I want to encourage and support all creatives out there to push yourself and try – it is so much more rewarding then I can even explain. I was very nervous at the October 2019 Taste the Arts event. It was the first time I was truly putting myself out there with my new and very personal art. Not only was my artwork on the cover of the magazine handed out that day, but the connections that I made have given me the drive to pour so much more into my art, including this blog.

In this blog, I hope to lift the curtain of the art world and make it less scary or intimidating for anyone wanting to try. I am still learning, and that will also be part of this blog. I will be exposing the ugly truth behind the not so perfect Instagram posts, the stack of unfinished paintings, and so much more. Please join me on this journey and let’s see where we can go!

Now it’s time to go create – Tamara

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